City approves draft bill
The Taipei City Government yesterday approved a draft bill on referendums that would allow residents to decide on select civic affairs. The bill still has to be reviewed and passed by the city council, Taipei City Department of Civil Affairs Commissioner Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹) said. The requirements for initiating a referendum remains high, she added. A petition for a referendum would first have to collect signatures from more than 0.005 percent of the total votes cast in the last Taipei mayoral election. In the second phase, it would have to have signatures from more than 5 percent of city voters. Citing the 2010 Taipei mayoral race as an example, Huang said more than 10,230 signatures would be needed in the first phase and more than 102,300 signatures in the second phase.
Miaoli celebrates asteroid
National Central University held a ceremony on Monday to celebrate the naming of an asteroid it discovered “Miaoli,” the county where the school resumed operations 50 years ago. Liu Gin-rong (劉振榮), acting president of the university, said the school chose the name to thank the county for its support and for providing free land to help it resume operations in 1962. The school also gave a model of the asteroid to Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻). The asteroid was discovered in 2008 by an assistant at the school’s Lulin Observatory in Chiayi County with the help of a student at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, the university said. The International Astronomical Union approved naming the asteroid Miaoli last year. Chou Yi (周翊), head of the university’s Graduate Institute of Astronomy, said the asteroid is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.